Santa in the City charity run – London – 4 December 2016

Starting and finishing in the vicinity of St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Santa in the City charity run took in a number of the City’s landmarks in a 5k route – sometimes catching members of the public unawares. After the start the runners crossed over the Millennium Bridge towards Tate Modern, passed through the Tower area, before finishing in Paternoster Square.

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Chelmsford Christmas Lights Switch-on – 27 November 2016

As with the Southend event of the previous weekend, and also hosted by Heart FM’s Martin & Su, the annual Christmas lights switch-on in Chelmsford offered a day of music and entertainment throughout the town’s centre. Starring transgender ‘The Voice’ semi-finalist Jordan Gray plus local talents West End Mamas, The Big Sing, Winston and the Lads and the Hackney Colliery Band, the large crowd enjoyed and joined in with some powerful music. Chelmsford’s Mayor and ‘Santa’, plus local promoters, switched on the lights at 5pm, accompanied by fireworks.

Jordan Gray was the first transgender contestant on ‘The Voice’ and has released her new single ‘Platinum’ this week.

With thanks to Heart FM.

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Remembrance Sunday service – Stow Maries Aerodrome -13 November 2016

A Remembrance Sunday service, wreath laying ceremony and flypast took place at Stow Maries Aerodrome – the most original World War One aerodrome still in existence. The aerodrome opened in 1916 with the aim of protecting London from attack by Zeppelin airships and Gotha bombers. Closed in 1919 the land was returned to farm use but most of the buildings remained untouched and are now being carefully restored. A memorial has been erected on the parade ground, by which the service took place. Three Stampe biplanes from the Tiger Club carried out a poppy drop before flying over the parade ground.

Later in the day the new owner of the Nieuport 17 replica now based at Stow Maries took it up for one of his first flights in the aircraft. The Essex Police helicopter also passed through, waggling his ‘wings’.

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Southend Christmas Lights Switch-on Event – 19 November 2016

Hosted by Heart FM’s Martin & Su, the annual Christmas lights switch-on event in Southend offered a day of music and entertainment throughout the town’s High Street. Starring ‘X-Factor’ and ‘The Voice’ contestant Lydia Lucy – latterly promoted by Will.I.am and the newest member of Black Eyed Peas –  as well as performances from local talents The Avenue, Adam Duffill and Joe Gibson, the large crowd enjoyed and joined in with some powerful singing. Lydia Lucy and Martin & Su were joined by ‘Ryan the Lion’ and Southend’s Mayor, Councillor Judith McMahon, to switch on the lights at 6pm, prompting an instant snow storm. Lydia Lucy ended the event with a sing-along of Mariah Carey’s ‘All I want for Christmas’.

With thanks to Heart FM.

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Little Gransden Air & Car Show – Beds, UK – 28 August 2016

Held at the lovely little airfield not far from Cambridge, the annual Little Gransden Air & Car Show raises welcome funds for the BBC’s Children in Need charity. The event suffered from changeable and sometimes extreme weather which caused a few scheduling issues, but as ever the public enjoyed a highly entertaining show which was well attended. A number of World War Two aircraft displayed as did various aerobatic, jet and training machines. Dennis Neville’s Flying Circus provided old ‘Barnstorming’ style antics – flying under a limbo pole, taking penalties against a goalkeeper and bursting balloons with their propellers. The Spitfire display which opened the show was dedicated to the late Terry Wogan.

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Swim Serpentine Festival Open Water Swimming – Hyde Park, London – 25 September 2016

The British Open Water Swimming Championships took place as part of the weekend event with a programme that included an elite invitation 5km swim around a 1 mile course set out around the Serpentine in Hyde Park. Winner of the men’s race was race number two Andreas Waschburger from Germany, whilst compatriot Isabelle Harle – wearing number thirty-four – took the women’s top place. Various categories of age and ability also competed, and was to include BBC TV’s Louise Minchin but she withdrew due to feeling unwell. Experienced tri-athlete Minchin still attended to give out the awards. Other attractions included synchronised swimming – something very difficult in the murky water.

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Great War Aerodrome Centenary Show – Stow Maries, Essex – 18 September 2016

An airshow and fly-in took place at Stow Maries Aerodrome to mark its centenary. It is the most original World War One aerodrome still in existence, and was opened in September 1916 with the aim of protecting London from attack by Zeppelin airships and Gotha bombers. Closed in 1919, the land was returned to agricultural use but many of the airfield’s buildings have remained untouched and are now being preserved and restored. A number of replica Great War aircraft are now based at Stow Maries, and a BE2 performed at the event, a type that served there one hundred years ago. A Sopwith Snipe illustrated the evolution of Great War aviation, with its more robust build and armament. The ever popular Turbulent Display Team performed their ‘barnstorming’ acts, including accurate flour-bombing – as witnessed by the condition of their target ‘Chateau le Turbs’!

When flying had finished for the day the airside gate was opened to allow the public the welcome opportunity to get a closer look at the aircraft.

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